Review: YG “4Real 4Real” – “sonic soundscape doesn’t go anywhere adventurous, but it’s classic West Coast”
YG is one of the few gangsta rappers out of the West that has the credibility needed to be big in this rap game. Whenever he puts out a new album I’m always hyped for it, “My Krazy Life” and “Still Brazy” are in my opinion two of the best pieces of work this decade has to offer. His brazen style and energy is contagious and reflects well in his work, nobody else around has that style now. Whilst “Stay Dangerous” may not stand in the same light for me as the other two projects, it may be due to a certain reason.
“My Krazy Life” was his debut, after years of struggle he was here and had the content for it. “Still Brazy” arrived after he was shot, and the album revolved around themes that one would expect of a rapper who’d just been shot, what could have been a disastrous time for him and those around him was spun into an incredible album. “Stay Dangerous” came at a time when nothing had really happened to him, that’s not a knock to him but it just seemed to come at a point where the content was only able to be cliché rap shit. “4REAL 4REAL” is here though, after the tragic passing of L.A. icon, and YG’s close friend Nipsey Hussle, and if nothing else YG is proof that some light can come out of tragedy.
The opening track “Hard Bottoms & White Socks” might be the best example of YG’s rap ability I’ve ever heard. His passion is heard through the vocals he seems to have to strain out sometimes, but he’s still nonchalantly cool. The beat is sparse, but the content is all the way up, he wants recognition for what he’s done for the scene, and rightly so.
“Go Loko” was released as a single prior to the album release, and I have to say it’s definitely going to be one of the songs of Summer 2019. The Latin inspired beat and sample tie the song together well, as does the addition of Jon Z with a Spanish speaking verse sure to get a few rewinds.
YG -” Go Loko” ft. Tyga, Jon Z (Official Music Video)
The album slows down after the 5th track, and what lets it down is the length of some of the tracks. Some of them are very samey throughout, and they go on for close to 4 minutes with “Go Loko” although it’s one of my favourites going on for 5 minutes. It’s like there was a need to fit in some more production or another hook, it detracts from the album and takes you out of it through apathy, unfortunately.
Adding to Go Loko’s summer vibes is “Do Yo Dance” with Kamaiyah and Ty Dolla $ign (of course!) is another summer anthem. It’s a great example of what these artists can produce, even with such a braggadocios bravado from YG he’s got a likability factor through his raps. He raps like he’s a friend telling you a story, his little nuances set him apart from everyone else and make him a rapper you both like, and want to be like. Whether these be how he may whisper- rapping one track then be fast paced in your face rapping the next, or how he speaks in the background of somebody else’s vocals, with slang that endears and draws you in.
Features wise, the album excels there. YG rarely lets his features outshine him, only compliment him, although Kamaiyah does steal the show on “Do Not Disturb” and Boogie’s verse on “I Was On The Block” is excellent. Meek Mill and Day Sulan also have standout verses that fit in really well with the album.
My main issue with this album is that the intro track does not fit with the rest of the album. The album itself is quite upbeat, even when the content is negative. But the intro sets up for something else it could be, not this pop-infused g-funk rap. This is not to say it’s bad, more to say the intro sells something different. The final piece on the album is YG’s speech at Nipsey’s funeral, whilst it may be fitting in terms of who YG was to Nipsey, it just doesn’t seem to work too well coming off of the other tracks.
Whilst, not his best project, “4Real 4Real” is certainly a return to form when comparing it to “Stay Dangerous”. At times on the record, YG is unapologetically charismatic and captivating. Others, you wish he would finish the song and move on. Unfortunately, the sonic soundscape of the album doesn’t really go anywhere too adventurous, but if it’s classic West Coast beats that you know YG for, then this is the album for you.
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Words by Rohan Parmar @rohanjparmar
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